Ververt (Montsoreau)

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In this renovated stone building on the banks of the Loire River, there’s not just exposed stone walls, light wood furniture and a sublime shady courtyard with Fermob seating out back. There’s also (and most importantly) Hélène Guibrunet, the sommelier, and Romain Butet, her chef husband, who take as much care with the wines as they do the cuisine. The day we went for lunch, the kitchen had plenty of verve: pork belly from the Ferme de Russé, slow-cooked in the oven and then seared, paired with fresh nectarine and nectarine vinaigrette, plus an oven-roasted onion drizzled in sage butter. What came next? Magnificent line-caught meagre fillet dried in salt and seared skin-side down, before being finished in the oven, with thick, pearly meat, all bathed in a citrus butter and a broad bean cream, covered in herbs, edible flowers and locally grown green vegetables (chard, pointy cabbage, zucchini, haricots verts); and to round out the meal, a seasonal dessert that was as simple as it was delicious – roasted apricot, peach sorbet, shortbread and lemon cream. // Larosé 

FEELING THIRSTY? : No fewer than 300 gems from the Loire and beyond: Schiste & Quartzite, a Nantes melon from the Domaine Les Pierres Meslières (€6.50 a glass), Amandiers, a saumur blanc from the Domaine L’Austral (€46 a bottle), and a Rhone syrah from La Ferme des Sept Lunes (€26). 
PRICE: : À la carte €34-56. 

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